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Killer Nun, The – Blue Underground (BluRay) 
Written by: on March 30th, 2012

Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1978
Director: Giulio Berruti
Writers: Giulio Berruti, Alberto Tarallo
Cast: Anita Ekberg, Paola Morra, Alida Valli

BluRay released: April 24th, 2012
Approximate running times: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Rating: NR
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, English for Italian Version
BluRay Release: Blue Underground
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98

Synopsis: Sister Gertrude (Anita Ekberg) has not been herself since her operation a few months earlier. She has developed a morphine problem that has lead to her mental breakdown. Sister Mathieu (Paola Morra) a nun who has recently arrived at the asylum has developed a close bond with Sister Gertrude. When patients start to die mysteriously Sister Gertrude is blamed because of her deteriorating metal state. Has Sister Gertrude imagined all of these crimes or will an even darker secret be revealed?

The Killer Nun is loosely based on real life events that happened in Belgium. Ken Russell’s controversial film The Devil’s was one of the forerunners that help launch the nunsploitation. Anita Ekberg is most remembered for the water fountain scene in La Dolce Vita, were she seduces Marcello Mastroianni. Giulio Berruti with the Killer Nun had all the right ingredients to make a sleazy epic and somehow he manages to make a tame film that never achieves it potential.

The casting of Anita Ekberg as Sister Gertrude is one of the films major flaws as even when she is seducing a man she picks up at a bar the scene stills feels flat and un-erotic. Ekberg lacks the eternal sex appeal someone Brigitte Bardot oozes with. Another flaw in the film is the relationship between Sister Gertrude and Sister Mathieu which only hints at lesbianism. During these scenes Ekberg appears frigid while Paola Morra feels more relaxed doing these scenes. The director in the extras even points out how he took it easy on Ekberg during these not wanting to upset his star. The end result is painfully obvious they should have hired an actress who would have embraced the material without any inhibitions.

This film takes to long to establish itself early on moving at a tedious pace before finally taking shape in the final act. The strongest part of the films is Alessandro Alessandroni schizophrenic Morricone like score that captures the downward spiral of Sister Gertrude’s state of mind perfectly. Ultimately this film is a hybrid of sorts as it mixes elements form the nunsploitation and giallo genres. The killer Nun is an interesting curiosity that fails to capture the depravity that is prominent is the best nunspolitation films. In the end just like Sister Gertrude this film isn’t quite sure of its identity. Overall The Killer Nun is a movie that suffers from its indecision as it tries to merge too many genres and themes together without ever establishing itself in a set direction.

The BluRay:

The Killer Nun comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. When compared to Blue Underground previous release, this new improves upon that aforementioned release is every way. Details look crisper, colors look more vibrant and black levels also look stronger. And while there are all things to be very happy about, some viewers may not be as happy with the image since it has that same look that has become synonymous with the Italian films that Blue Underground has released so far on Blu-Ray.

This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English and a DTS-HD Mono mix in  Italian (English subtitles have been included with the Italian audio mix). Both audio mixes are in great shape, as dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced. And while range wise things can sound rather limited. The score and more ambient aspects of the soundtrack are well represented. This release also comes with these subtitle options, English SDH, French and Spanish.

Extras for this release include trailer for the film (2 minutes 56 seconds – anamorphic widescreen), a poster & still gallery and a interview with co-screenwriter / director Giulio Berruti titled ‘From the Secret Files of the Vatican’ (13 minutes 41 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Italian with English subtitles). Topics include the origins of the screenplay, how they filmed around the priests and nuns at the convent that was used as this film primary location, the cast – most notably his leading lady Anita Ekberg and the aftereffect that this film had on his career as a filmmaker. Overall The Killer Nun gets a strong Hi Def release from Blue Underground.

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